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Strengthening Youth Voices in the Imperial Valley

Strengthening Youth Voices in the Imperial Valley

Vesper Society is dedicated to long-term solutions that help communities help themselves. In the Imperial Valley, Vesper Society partners with Renaissance Journalism to empower youth to tell their own stories, in their own voices, as a way to visualize a better future and promote positive social change. (At Left: Adalberto Lopez, Brawley Union High School, sets up video camera.) At its first Youth Voices Digital Institute this June, 10 high school students traveled 600 miles north to take part in a week-long crash course in multi-media journalism at San Francisco State University. Most of the students are of Latino heritage, so the program is designed to help them recognize the value of their cultural backgrounds and to utilize the bilingual reality that exists in the Imperial Valley. The students were sent out on assignments, such as interviewing San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, covering an Oakland A’s baseball game and meeting with the staff of El Tecolote, a bilingual newspaper serving the Mission District. Their 12-hour days were jam-packed with video lessons, interviews with community leaders, daily deadlines and countless hours of computer work to produce stories about their experiences. By the end of the week, each of the students produced a video story about their experiences. The stories were screened during an emotional graduation ceremony that was broadcast over the Internet so that their families and friends could watch from their homes in Imperial County. With this intensive experience under their belts, the students can return to their respective schools and help teach other students the power of storytelling. Local journalists will continue to work with the students. As the program progresses during the regular school term, you can expect more students to start posting their stories. Young people will actively engage their community with new communications tools that can... Read More

Women’s Community Clinic

Women’s Community Clinic

At Vesper Society, we seek out overlooked communities and help them devise ways to create a healthy future. One of the ways we do this is by supporting the Women’s Community Clinic (the Clinic) in San Francisco. Though San Francisco is known as a thriving and prosperous city, many of its residents—especially low-income, homeless, and marginalized women—have limited or no access to preventative healthcare. The Women’s Community Clinic, founded in 1999 by a group of volunteer graduates from the UCSF School of Nursing, believes that preventive, educational care is essential to lifelong health and that all women deserve excellent healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay. The Clinic works hard to ensure that each client feels comfortable and safe in a warm and welcoming environment. Their treatments are culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and tailored to each client’s needs and circumstances. The Clinic provides a full range of client-centered clinical services including acute and chronic primary care, reproductive health services, integrated mental health counseling, and referrals to onsite prenatal care. In San Francisco’s Western Addition neighborhood, the Clinic’s work addresses some troubling statistics; 25% of Western Addition residents use the emergency room as their primary source of care and only 6-9% are receiving preventative healthcare. In San Francisco’s Mission District, the Clinic’s Outreach Program provides health education services to homeless and marginalized women. The Mission’s Workforce Development program and the Western Addition’s Health Training Program, which focuses on African American women, provide valuable training to the next generation of healthcare providers, leaders, and advocates, and keeps the offered services affordable for all. Today, the Clinic serves more than 4,000 San Francisco women and girls over the age of 12, of which 91% are uninsured and most are living at or below the Federal Poverty level. Vesper Society’s support allowed for the... Read More

Connecting to Care Telehealth Services

Connecting to Care Telehealth Services

In 2011, the Health Resources and Services Administration stated that, compared to urban and suburban Americans, rural Americans with behavioral health disorders are significantly less likely to receive any type of treatment for their behavioral health due to lack of resources. And, in an era of increased poverty levels, travel costs are an even greater barrier to rural residents receiving specialty services not locally available. Connecting to Care (CtoC) provides charitable health services using innovative technology to connect underserved populations to care and promotes the health and well-being of individuals regardless of their economic status. Medical providers in a number of rural sites in Northern California reported that telepsychiatry and telebehavioral health programs were unavailable or unaffordable. With support from Vesper Society, these programs are now operational in eleven clinics in Plumas, El Dorado, Modoc, Nevada, and Shasta Counties. CtoC has provided over 1,000 telebehavioral health visits to rural partner sites since the program’s inception. Connecting to Care, located in Grass Valley and Redding, California, also provides remote specialty bi-lingual physician-level adult/child psychiatric care and the services of licensed clinical psychologists, nurse practitioners, and licensed clinical social workers. They conduct programs on-site in their Redding office as well as remotely in rural health clinic sites. Vesper Society knows that rural areas need more attention. Connecting to Care’s Telebehavioral Health Services Program has clearly created long-term solutions that improve the health and well-being of the medically underserved, rural, and frontier Northern California... Read More

John Muir Community Health Alliance – Mobile Dental Clinic

John Muir Community Health Alliance – Mobile Dental Clinic

Contra Costa was in dire need of dental services for underserved and low-income communities. In response to that need, The Dental Collaborative of Contra Costa’s Mobile Dental Clinic program has been providing free dental services for the region’s youth since 2004. With Vesper Society’s support, the Mobile Dental Clinic has provided 11,041 dental visits to 5,086 children. Additionally, over 47,000 children received oral health assessments in schools and community sites and over 25,000 received fluoride applications. Of the children the program serves in Contra Costa County, only 17 percent have insurance. The Dental Collaborative of Contra Costa County is comprised of Contra Costa County Health Services, John Muir Community Health Alliance, Brookside Community Health Center, La Clínica de la Raza, and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Bay Area in California. As the program celebrates ten years of service to the community, their 2014 focus is to provide dental services directly at school sites in West Contra Costa County, allowing children to miss less school while receiving dental care. Vesper Society supported the Dental Collaborative’s mission to provide access to high quality dental services, to improve health outcomes, and to link patients to a dental and medical home for ongoing... Read More

Oakley Youth Advisory Council

Oakley Youth Advisory Council

Located 50 miles northeast of San Francisco, Oakley’s landscape of rolling fields, orchards, and vineyards gives us a glimpse into its agricultural past. Settled in 1897, it only recently became an incorporated city in 1999. The city’s vision is to be recognized as a model of civic participation and a vibrant delta community where families live, work, play, shop, and visit. In 2006, the City Council made building community identity for Oakley youth a priority. Vesper Society partnered with the Oakley Recreation Department to facilitate the development of the Oakley Youth Advisory Council (OYAC). OYAC, composed of 21 members representing grades 6-12, was established to advise the City of Oakley on policies that pertain to community youth; form alliances with local organizations, schools, and businesses to help provide constructive activities for youth; and aid youth by assisting in solving problems concerning their interests and find ways to increase student participation within the community. OYAC has become woven into the fabric of the city. Members, along with their friends, volunteer with “You, Me, and We” (a city initiative to integrate newly arrived immigrants), Cityhood Celebration, Heart of Oakley, Harvest Festival, Marsh Creek Coastal Clean Up, Movies in the Plaza, and Dia de Los Muertos. In addition, OYAC helped create award-winning youth programs, “It’s A Girl Thing” and “Boyz Time,” that aided middle school students in preparing for high school and provided insights on navigating difficult issues like social media and bullying. By uplifting and supporting Oakley’s youth population and encouraging community involvement, Vesper Society and OYAC are ensuring the next generation’s leaders have the support they need to make a maximum impact on the community. You can view a video OYAC members made that describes the role they play in the... Read More

Operation Access

Operation Access

A health problem that you cannot afford to treat can become a major obstacle. It can lead to job loss, deterioration of quality of life, emergency situations, and often despair. Operation Access (OA) is committed to helping low-income, uninsured people receive the surgical and specialty care they need but cannot afford; to providing meaningful local volunteer opportunities for medical professionals; and is dedicated to restoring patients’ ability to earn a living, to care for their families, and to enjoy healthy lives. OA brings healing and hope to people in need, and demonstrates that the impulse for doing good work is alive and well in the Bay Area medical community. OA brings together hospitals and medical professionals who provide outpatient surgical, specialty, and diagnostic care free of charge to low-income, uninsured community clinic patients.  In conjunction with its work with East Contra Costa County primary care providers, Vesper Society recognized the need for a stronger safety net for area residents, and funded OA’s East Contra Costa program from 2011 through 2014. OA has built strong, integrated partnerships with local community health centers, including La Clínica Oakley, which Vesper Society has also supported.  In many instances, OA is the only available resource for surgical and specialty referrals for those patients who cannot obtain insurance or have limited access to county facilities. In 2016, they provided 131 unduplicated East County residents with 177 total surgical procedures and diagnostic services. This Vesper Society project has cultivated a culture of medical volunteerism among individuals and institutions throughout the county. For East Contra Costa County patients, that means a more responsive and effective process that supports them and improves the quality of their lives and the well-being of the... Read More

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